Monday, 28 April 2014

Reasons To Lose The Fat...

Hi guys! I hope you are all well...

It's a beautiful day here in Cornwall, after a some what damp weekend! My one day off from everything is Sunday, but rubbish weather isn't exactly motivational!

Anyway, it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog update, so let's get on with it...

So what makes people want to lose body fat? For me personally, it's for the good of my health, to raise my stamina and metabolism, and generally look, and feel better.

If we're willing to make some sacrifices, and sort ourselves out, we definitely deserve the body we so desire!

My turning point was Christmas. My boobs were getting out of control, and made me feel very uncomfortable, physically as well as mentally. I'd also gone up a couple of notches on my belt over the winter, all that comfort food was too much!

Since I started at the gym on January 9 2014, and on myfitnesspal, I've lost 30lbs (Just over 2 stone!), as well as some inches, which is fantastic, and I couldn't be more pleased! Thankfully my boobs are at a more acceptable size, having lost a good 4/5 inches - Woohoo!! I know tonnes of women love big boobs, and have boob jobs, but c'mon, they hurt your back, and get in the way!!

I've only started measuring myself for the past month, but it's handy to know where you're at, even when the numbers on the scale aren't budging.

Other reasons for fat loss can be - Holidays, Weddings, Parties, Family Gatherings, Careers, as well as the more serious Health Concerns! From Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Problems, Joint Problems, Gall Stones... The list can be endless!

So the bottom line is, healthy is good, obese is bad! There is no sugar coating the subject, and it really is that black and white!

But of course, it's up to every individual to have that want, to live a better, healthier life. I know I do for sure, the thought of some day looking in the mirror and not being happy with what I see scares me!

So if there's anyone out there who is wanting to bust some fat, but unsure where to start, come join me on my journey, and we'll do it together! It's always best to have some support, especially if you're struggling!

Hopefully I will help some people through my blog, seeing as the internet is full of people constantly contradicting each other, I'm trying to keep it simple, and without a bunch of sciencey blurb! But if I do have to include any blurb, I will explain it best I can haha!

Cheers.....Tash :)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Recipe One - Turkey Con Carne.....!!

Good Morning guys, and Happy Monday!

Now I know a lot of people hate Mondays, it's back to work/school day after having a nice weekend off! Unless of course you work weekends, in that case, brothers and sisters, I feel your pain! I've done it for years until recently, and it sucks!

So, what are we kicking the week off with then?

How about a recipe for a lovely Turkey Chilli?

So why turkey, and not beef? Well, as much as I love beef, and red meat in general, it's a good idea to cut back on the amount we eat whilst we're on a fat loss journey! So here we go!

"Turkey Con Carne"

Serves Four Hungry People, or Six Not So Hungry People!

Equiptment -

Large High Sided Non-Stick Casserole Type Pan w/ Lid

Chopping Board

A Couple of Sharp Knives - A small prep knife, and a 6"/8" Chefs knife

Vegetable Peeler

Box Grater/Food Processor w/ Grater Attachment

Silicone Spatula/Non Metal Spoon

Ingredients -

500g Lean Turkey Mince (A mix of dark, and white meat for great flavour)

200g Carrots

300g Red Onion

100g Celery

3 Garlic Cloves

1 Fresh Red Chilli - Deseeded and finely chopped

4 Roasted Red Peppers - Roughly chopped. You can buy some fantastic ones at your local supermarket, for a fraction of the price of fresh peppers!

400g Can of Kidney Beans

400g Passata - Buy a nice flavoured one with chilli, herbs, garlic etc!

1 Tablespoon of Tomato Ketchup - I LOVE Sainsburys own brand, it came top in a taste test by Which? Magazine!

2 Tablespoons Rapeseed Oil - Border Fields is excellent!

Half a teaspoon Ground Cumin

Half a teaspoon Sweet Smoked Paprika

1 and a half teaspoons Regular Paprika

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

30g Fresh Coriander - Leaves picked and roughly chopped, and stalks finely chopped

1 teaspoon Chipotle Paste - ASDA do a very nice paste, if you've not tried it before, it's JalapeƱo Peppers that have been smoked, then ground to a paste. Delicious!

A Lemon

1 Free Range Chicken Stock Cube - Kallo Stock Cubes are great!

*Hints, and Tips!*

Recipes are there as a guide, unless it's baking, ingredients and amounts aren't set in stone. If you don't like something, or you have allergies, such as celery, leave it out and add more onion, or maybe some pumpkin/squash! If you don't like a herb, or spice, again swap it for something you do like!

If you have a food processor, this can make life a million times easier if your knife skills are lacking, by using the grater and slicer attachments you can whiz through your veg prep in no time!!

Method -

1. Peel the carrots, onions, garlic cloves, and wash the celery stalks. Finely chop the onions, and celery, and grate the carrots. If you have a food processor, use the grater for all the veg!

2. Heat a pan on medium, and add the rapeseed oil, followed by the veggies and a good pinch of sea salt. Stir well, put the lid on, and let the veg cook until softened, stirring every few minutes for 10-15 minutes. Some golden colour is a bonus here to bring out the natural sweetness in the veg!

3. Once the veggies are nicely cooked, add the garlic and red chilli, and cook for a few minutes. Push the veg to one side of the pan, and break in the turkey mince. Brown off the meat by stirring it, and breaking up clumps with your spatula/spoon. Increasing the heat if necessary.

4. Season the meat and veg mix with freshly ground black pepper, and add the dried spices. Allow the spices to cook for a minute or so, then add the chipotle paste, coriander stalks, stock cube, and dried oregano. The stock cube will melt in seconds with a little stirring action!

5. Next, add the passata, ketchup, the peppers, and the drained, rinsed kidney beans. Add a little water at this point if it seems a little dry, or thick, 200ml should suffice (If using a 400g jar of passata, just rinse the jar out!). Add in half of the chopped coriander leaves.

6. Once everything is in the pan, allow to cook on a low heat for an hour or so, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking, and the turkey is delicious and tender! Finish with the rest of the coriander, and the juice of half a lemon, or to taste, and check the seasoning!

I love this chilli served with some bulgar wheat, steamed broccoli, and a spoonful of fat free Greek yogurt!

I really hope you'll give this a try guys, and let me know what you think! Cooked, shredded turkey can be used in place of mince. Remember, if you don't like an ingredient, leave it out, or swap it for something else!

Cheers......Tash :)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Happy Days..

Hi guys! Well it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon here in Cornwall, and I've been to the gym! Usually Sunday is my rest day, but I had a midweek break..

I'm glad to say that the weather has improved greatly this week, after a horrendous winter, I think we're all ready for some flip flop weather, am I right?!

As promised, I'm going to start adding some recipes that I've come up with. They're basically lighter versions of things I love, though I'm still working on a Mac n Cheese recipe, so bare with me!

The foods I eat are all about making clever little food swaps that can help cut fat content, carbs, and high calories.

Ideally we would all be eating lean proteins, whole grains, healthy carbs, and fats, fresh fruits and veggies..

Something that a lot of people do when trying to lose fat, is restrict their diet! They cut out all the naughty stuff they love. This is fair enough, but you need to have a treat now and then, otherwise you might end up binging!

So, what have I cut out of my diet?

1. White Rice, White Bread, Pasta.

2. Carbonated Drinks - Pepsi/Coca Cola/Sprite etc.

3. Coffee, and Tea.

4. Fast Food/Junk Food.

5. Alcohol - I've cut DOWN on alcohol, I still have the occasional beer now, and then. Plus I really love good Bourbon :)

6. White Potatoes - I rarely eat these even though I love a good crispy roasted spud!

So, what do I have instead of these things?

1. Brown Rice, Bulgar Wheat, Quinoa, Wholegrain Crispbreads, Gluten Free Pasta.

2. Water all the way! 3 litres per day.

3. See above!

4. Healthy stuff - More on that later!

5. Like I said, I have a drink now and then, when the mood strikes.

6. Sweet Potatoes - High in fibre, virtually fat free, and delicious!

It's not that I don't like white bread, or normal potatoes, but for now I'm all about making healthy choices. But I do find now that plain boiled white rice smells like socks haha!

I also, most definitely, eat dairy products! Eggs, Greek yogurt, and cheese are brilliant things, and I couldn't imagine never eating them again! When I buy cheese, I choose strong extra mature cheddar so I have to use less - cheeky hey! Low fat cottage cheese, feta, parmesan are all great choices too. My choice of yogurt at the moment is ASDA Extra Special Fat Free Greek Yogurt, it's delicious, and brilliant for sweet, and savoury dishes! Just avoid the 'Greek Style' ones! I want authentic foods, not a style of something!

So there you have it, if you want to lose fat, and get lean, make some sensible swaps, and you'll be who you want to be in no time!

Tash :)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Weight Loss Journey So Far - 2014...

So this blog entry is all about my first 3 months.

Once I got started at the gym, I set up a profile on to record my food, and exercise. To be honest, it seems like a royal pain in the you-know-what to have to weigh, and measure all your food. But in all honesty, it's not that bad, and once you get in to the habit, it's second nature. It makes you think twice about reaching for something, and just eating.

Along with the gym, which I visit 6 days a week, healthy eating, and plenty of water, things are really paying off!

Now, I've read an awful lot of stuff on the internet about fat burning foods, different exercises to target certain areas of fat, and to be honest, a lot of it is absolute rubbish!

Yesterday I wrote a really long status on good ole Facebook! The response I got from friends, was incredible. I've learnt a lot over the last few months, but particularly the last 4/5 weeks. So, here is that status, it's full of useful information, no confusing jargon, and definitely NO BS!!

"Almost 3 months in to my total lifestyle, and fitness overhaul..

I'm now down by 28lbs, which is incredible, and I've swapped some fat for muscle!

For those who are interested, I'm here to tell you some truths about getting healthy.. I am in no way a Fitness Instructor, or Nutrition expert, I am just sharing my experiences. Apologies for it being a lengthy one, but this is what works for me! I've come a long way since January..

Want to lose fat? Eat clean. Strength train. Lift HEAVY weights.

Build lean muscle, which helps burn fat, even after your work-out is complete!

A pound of muscle takes up much less space than a pound of fat!

Cardio will only get you so far. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the bomb for when you do it though!

Losing weight, and losing fat, are two different achievements. The scales don't always tell the whole truth if the numbers aren't budging, but a tape measure, and your clothes never lie, trust me!

Don't focus entirely on the lbs/kg's.

Don't believe the media, they lie to make money.

No fat burning pill, lotion, or potion will make you skinny. They are a scam.

Spot reducing is a lie.

A belly fat burning product supposedly endorsed by a celebrity is BS!

No amount of crunches will give you a six-pack if you have a layer of fat over the top, your stomach will just look bigger.

Abs are made in the kitchen. The majority of your goal to lose fat is based on what you're sticking in your gob! Eat lean proteins, good carbs, healthy fats, fruits and veggies.

Burn more calories than you consume. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories.

Learn your BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate or in English, the calories your body would burn if you were in a coma.

Take that number, plus how many calories you burn at the gym.

So if my BMR is 1505, and I burn 600 calories at the gym, I would eat another 500 calories to be healthy - Not taking in to consideration other calories burned through day to day activities like driving, moving around, working etc.

If you want to get really technical, calculate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).

Never eat less than 1200 calories, it's not healthy. I do not recommend it for anyone, your body will hate you for it!

I made mistakes when I first started out, I wasn't eating half as much as I should have. I didn't know I had to eat back my exercise calories, oops! Doing that for too long will mess up your metabolism, so my losses stalled for a month or so, until last week.

Re-jiggle your work-outs, and your food/calorie intake. Don't let that body of yours get too comfy, switch things up for maximum results!

I am incredibly proud of everything I wrote, and I know that it's not crap! Although what works for me might not work for everybody, but it will work for the majority! You just have to find your own common ground!

In conclusion, I eat around 1500 calories each day, even on my rest day. As I get closer to my fitness goal, I can up my intake if I wish, but only so long as my workouts are still giving me the results I consistently aim for!

When I say "Lift HEAVY weights", that is for both boys, and us girls! When we build lean muscle, it burns the fat left over as energy, and unless we take bulking supplements, and eat 5000 calories a day, we won't get big, just lean and toned! Who's not gonna want that?

So, as a result of all my hard work, I've lost 2 stone! I've a couple more milestones to reach yet before I can go into maintenance mode, but it's all happening.

At first, my weight fell off, and the first stone melted away. Now my losses have slowed down to a steadier pace, which is much better for the long term!

Here's to the next few months!

I would love to hear from others on their own fitness journey, as well as to share tips, and encouragement!

Cheers.... Tash :)

A Bit About Me...

Hi there, and welcome!

My name is Tash, I live in Cornwall, England, and I've always struggled with my weight.

I've had a career in cheffing since leaving school at 16, but all that food is too much for some people, especially if they're trying to fight the flab!

At the end of last summer, I got a chef job in a new restaurant that was opening. How was I to know it was a huge mistake? What sounded like a brilliant, and fun job, rapidly turned out to be a total nightmare.

Working long hours every week, for a lousy salary, is bad enough! But add on to that, no meal breaks, or breaks at all! Except a measly one hour late into the afternoon! After a summer spent eating healthily, I was gutted that I was having to buy a crappy pre-made sarnie for my lunch (My only meal for the day!).

The biggest problem came from the working hours, starting at 09:00 hrs and finishing near enough Midnight 5 days a week. With no time to make myself a lovely packed lunch, and frankly zero energy to even want to, my mood plummeted. Days off became a blur of doing nothing, the lack of essential vitamins, and minerals were really starting to play havoc with my body! The night before a day off would have me stopping at the 24hr service station, picking up some junk food, and beers, going home and wolfing the lot!

Needless to say, I was miserable, I hated getting up in the morning to have to go to work in a place I grew to resent. I didn't stay there for very long, some of the attitudes I had to put up with really tipped me over the edge.

My weight crept up on me, once I'd walked away from that disaster, I made up for lost time, and ate like a pig!!

Winter soon hit, then Christmas, and New Year! I had a brilliant Christmas with all my family, I ate and drank myself sideways!

Then, in early January, when I realised I'd gone up a notch on my belt, I decided that now was the time for change!

I knew I couldn't do it on my own, I just don't have the will to exercise at home, or copy work-outs from online.

So I made the decision to join a local gym, because if I didn't, things would only get worse!

It was at a hotel I'd worked at in 2005, so I knew the equipment was good, and the pool area was lovely!

On January 9, I had my first induction. The fitness instructor, who I now regard as my Yoda, was lovely! Even though I was horrendously out of shape, his words of encouragement helped me through, and he was incredibly patient. I only had 30 minutes with Jack, but he gave me some exercises to follow, and I went away with a spring in my step. Although I was still very timid of walking in to a gym, and afraid of people looking at me, this was the first step to a brand new me!

Let's be honest, everyone who goes to a gym goes for the same reason as me - exercise!

Thanks for reading, for more news about healthy fat loss, stick around for upcoming blogs. some will feature my very own recipes for foods that have helped me out!

Tash :)